Boston Marathon Race Director Joins Chaz Davis, Others For “Coast 2 Coast Challenge”

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For those who will miss the Boston Marathon in April, the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) has created the Coast 2 Coast Challenge. For the 30 days of April, anyone can join to walk, run, or move, send in their daily miles, and virtually travel from San Francisco to Boston with international participants. Funds will support Team With A Vision (TWAV), United in Stride, and the services and members of MABVI.

Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired Logo, Confident Living with Vision Loss
Since the Boston Marathon was postponed this year...that inspired us to create this virtual Coast 2 Coast Challenge.

April in Boston has always meant running. The Boston Marathon. When the city welcomes the running world to the marathon’s greatest stage. This year, the pandemic changed all that, and the Marathon has been postponed. The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI), has stepped in to fill that void with their Coast 2 Coast Challenge, a virtual cross-country trek for runners and fans alike. During the month of April, MABVI’s Team with A Vision, United in Stride, and walkers and runners across the country are invited, as individuals or teams, to accrue as many active miles as possible, while virtually traversing the country. Participants from around the globe have the opportunity to complete the Challenge with friends and family, anywhere in the world, with a goal to raise $100,000 to support United in Stride, Team With a Vision, and the programs and services of MABVI. Registration for the Challenge is free. So far, the challenge has more than 160 participants and has already raised over $20,000 on its official first day.

“Since the Boston Marathon was postponed this year, people are missing this big community and world event, and we knew many organizations like ours would be missing out on critical fundraising as well,” said Paul Twitchell, Director of Communications and Marketing for MABVI. “That inspired us to create this virtual Coast 2 Coast Challenge.”

Participants can take on the Challenge individually or compile miles as a team, keeping track of mileage by walking, running, or moving over the 30 days of April. Collectively, participants will be virtually traveling from San Francisco, CA to Boston, MA, a total of 4,339 miles, stopping at important blind community landmarks along the way. There is no limit on the number of daily activities or miles, so participants can be creative in how they progress: run (or walk) on a treadmill, around their neighborhood, or on a course of their choosing. At the end of each day or session from April 1st to April 30th, miles can be logged on their account. The popular exercise app Strava is a sponsor, and will be featuring the event on their website and app for the month of April, allowing participants to log miles through the app.

Notable Participants

Individuals of all ages and abilities have signed up to take the challenge, including octogenarian Wynne Miller. Miller is a consumer of MABVI’s programs and services, including the organization’s peer support groups. She has a new Fitbit and has already started tracking her steps.

Matt Lavallee, a Content Producer at New England Sports Network (NESN), has already formed a team.

Dave McGillivray is race director of the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), as well as a philanthropist, author, and athlete. In 1978, Dave ran across the U.S. to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Charles “Chaz” Davis is a visually impaired runner from Grafton, Massachusetts, Adjustment Counselor for MABVI, Team With A Vision Coordinator, and one of the architects of the Coast 2 Coast Challenge. In his debut as a marathon competitor at the California International Marathon (CIM) in 2016, Davis finished in 2:31:48, setting a new American record for the T12/B2 visual impairment category.

Participants can register online at https://runsignup.com/Race/MA/Brookline/UISTWAVC2C.

About Team With A Vision

Team With A Vision has been raising visibility and critical funds for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired for more than 25 years. Our international team of runners are Boston Qualified athletes in the Para Athletic Division, the Adaptive Programs, and charity runners. Add meaning to your miles by joining our team, and be a part of a deep history of running and inclusion. All funds raised support MABVI’s statewide network of vision rehabilitation services, low vision support groups, access technology training, and 400+ volunteers matched 1:1 with individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

About United In Stride

United In Stride (UIS) is an online tool for runners who are blind or visually impaired to connect with sighted guides across North America. Founded by a joint effort from VI athlete Richard Hunter and MABVI, this resource provides the much-needed information so a VI runner can connect with a sighted guide close to home, or when traveling to another part of the country. UIS believes a robust, interactive sighted guide database will create more opportunities for the next generation of visually impaired runners.

About Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Founded in 1903, Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired is one of the oldest social service organizations in the country supporting adults and seniors who are blind or low vision. A division of MAB Community Services, Inc., MABVI is a leading provider of integrated medical, social, and rehabilitation services for adults and seniors with vision loss. MABVI empowers individuals and offers them the tools they need to accomplish their goals by helping to remove barriers and increasing access to services. MABVI partners with numerous medical, elder services, and community agencies to create high-impact, cost-effective services for more than 1,500 blind and low vision people across the Commonwealth.

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